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post #1 of 34 Old 06-26-2014, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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whole home audio/video solutions on limited budget

Hi,

I am have been looking around but I can't seem to put together a specific solution for what I want to try and do (perhaps I am just over-complicating for myself).

Primarily I want to have a WHA solution I can listen to in 4 rooms, but I also want to be able to hide the cable box, DVD, etc in the basement and run off of a central system where I can watch in 3 rooms.

I have run all cat6 through the house to the basement, and also speaker wire run to the basement (each pair of speaker wires have a cat6 in the wall).

So I believe I have created a good foundation to build on.

Basically what I would like to do:

stage 1 - play audio to 4 areas (with wired speakers)
be able to control mostly from my ipad/iphone/laptop and using slacker/itunes radio/songza as well as my own MP3 music libraries
keypads can be basic

stage 2 - play video to 3 rooms
want to connect dvd player, cable box.
want to also be able to play from laptop/iphone/ipad

I don't have a specific budget in mind, but I don't want to go over $1000 if thats possible. I will also buy inwall speakers likely from monoprice.

Any assistance and help from experience would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers!
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post #2 of 34 Old 06-26-2014, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Would something like this work for my stage 1 needs of WHA?

6 Zone Home Audio Multizone Controller and Amplifier Kit
http://www.monoprice.com/Product/?c_...ription&ref=cj

Sonos Connect
http://www.sonos.com/shop/products/connect

Would I also need an airport express or apple tv for my capability to play from iphone/ipad?

Cheers!
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post #3 of 34 Old 06-26-2014, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by limester View Post
Would something like this work for my stage 1 needs of WHA?

6 Zone Home Audio Multizone Controller and Amplifier Kit
http://www.monoprice.com/Product/?c_...ription&ref=cj

Sonos Connect
http://www.sonos.com/shop/products/connect

Would I also need an airport express or apple tv for my capability to play from iphone/ipad?

Cheers!
I've been using the Sonos products for several years now and I haven't found a better way to enjoy music. It's just too cool how you can control all your music sources. I use Apple products mainly, and have my iTunes library on a NAS along with streaming music services and it all seamlessly works together in the app. The connect(s) can eat up your budge pretty quickly however, but with all the benefits of Sonos it would be worth it. Especially since their latest software update, which removes the requirement for the Sonos Bridge component (~$50) that connects your router (network) to the Sonos components. All wifi now!
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post #4 of 34 Old 06-26-2014, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response!

If I go with sonos wifi, I believe it will circumvent the wires that I have put in place?

I would prefer not to have all wifi speakers.

Will the sonos connect, connected to the multizone controller from monoprice be a good solution for my case?

Cheers!
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post #5 of 34 Old 06-26-2014, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by limester View Post
Will the sonos connect, connected to the multizone controller from monoprice be a good solution for my case?
It's part of "a" solution. Doing it that way, you only have one source device, and you won't be able to control the volume in each zone without adding some other hardware (and software) to control the multi-zone controller (which only has a serial port or IR receiver for commands).

If you want different sources for each room, then you'll need multiple Sonos Connect units. But you'll still have the volume control issue.

Or skip the multi-zone amp, get multiple Connect:Amp units to connect to your wired speakers, and you're done.
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post #6 of 34 Old 06-26-2014, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingDiver View Post
It's part of "a" solution. Doing it that way, you only have one source device, and you won't be able to control the volume in each zone without adding some other hardware (and software) to control the multi-zone controller (which only has a serial port or IR receiver for commands).
Remember that the Monoprice WHA unit also comes with keypads... And since Limester says he ran cat5e along with the speaker wire, I assume that means he dropped those to keypad locations.

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Originally Posted by FlyingDiver View Post
Or skip the multi-zone amp, get multiple Connect:Amp units to connect to your wired speakers, and you're done.
While that would be 2x his budget for four zones, it would be a really simple, integrated and easy to use solution...

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post #7 of 34 Old 06-26-2014, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post
Remember that the Monoprice WHA unit also comes with keypads... And since Limester says he ran cat5e along with the speaker wire, I assume that means he dropped those to keypad locations.
Yeah, I forgot about the wall panels. But that doesn't meet his desire to control from iPhone/iPad/computer either. Well, I guess it's just going to be volume he's missing, since with one source he doesn't need to worry about source switching. So it might work out OK, at least to start. Then he could add additional Connect units later so each zone has it's own, which let him pick the source he wants.

Last edited by FlyingDiver; 06-26-2014 at 03:38 PM.
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post #8 of 34 Old 06-26-2014, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Guys,

Thanks for the responses, this is very helpful.

I did not realize I would have issues with the volume! that's a technically difficult one to overcome I guess, and assume I would be controlling what is playing with my iphone, but volume would only be managed via the keypad.

I like the idea of the Sonos Connect:Amp, although they are pricey each, ultimately I want a well integrated and easy to use solution.

But I have run cat to run keypads and I feel this would be wasted if I use the Sonos solution.

Are there any other options that you think I could use that could do it all with the foundation I have built?

Cheers!
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post #9 of 34 Old 06-26-2014, 06:03 PM
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Cable is cheap. I wouldn't base the decision on the sunk cost of the cable. But the thought of needing to use wall controls for any of the WHA controls for my next house has me convinced to not run cable to wall box locations at all. That way I won't be tempted.
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post #10 of 34 Old 06-26-2014, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingDiver View Post
Cable is cheap. I wouldn't base the decision on the sunk cost of the cable. But the thought of needing to use wall controls for any of the WHA controls for my next house has me convinced to not run cable to wall box locations at all. That way I won't be tempted.
That would be a mistake...

If Sonos, for example, came out with a wall-mount touchscreen control for $199 tomorrow, you might want some of those...

And to quote you right back - cable is cheap. Category cable is extra cheap insurance against the future.

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post #11 of 34 Old 06-26-2014, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post
That would be a mistake...

If Sonos, for example, came out with a wall-mount touchscreen control for $199 tomorrow, you might want some of those...

And to quote you right back - cable is cheap. Category cable is extra cheap insurance against the future.
What would a $199 wall mount control do that a cheap ($100 or so) android tablet doesn't already do? I mean, they already have a touch control app.

I totally agree that wire is cheap, but at some point you do have to say enough is enough.
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post #12 of 34 Old 06-26-2014, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by FlyingDiver View Post
What would a $199 wall mount control do that a cheap ($100 or so) android tablet doesn't already do? I mean, they already have a touch control app.
Always where you left it, no batteries / charging to worry about. Dedicated design / function...

Doesn't replace a mobile device for walking-around convenience - both have their strengths, which is why the correct answer is "both"!

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingDiver View Post
I totally agree that wire is cheap, but at some point you do have to say enough is enough.
Wiring cat5e for keypads in every room, be it for WHA or for other future home automation, is really cheap future-proofing.

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post #13 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback!
So which is the best to go with, the connect or the connect:amp?
Seems like quite a price difference?!
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post #14 of 34 Old 07-01-2014, 05:57 PM
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If you buy the Connect's, then you will need seperate amps to drive the speakers. Apart from anything else, this complicates the volume control, and is an extra plug socket. The Connect:Amp keeps it very VERY simple, one box per zone. I hear it is quite common to run 2 x pairs of speaker off 1 connect:amp.

If you ask me, the whole draw of Sonos is its simplicity and ease of use. Maybe buy a couple of boxes to start with, and add more when you need to/can afford to.
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post #15 of 34 Old 07-03-2014, 06:17 AM
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If you buy the Connect's, then you will need seperate amps to drive the speakers. Apart from anything else, this complicates the volume control, and is an extra plug socket. The Connect:Amp keeps it very VERY simple, one box per zone. I hear it is quite common to run 2 x pairs of speaker off 1 connect:amp.

If you ask me, the whole draw of Sonos is its simplicity and ease of use. Maybe buy a couple of boxes to start with, and add more when you need to/can afford to.
I have helped several friends install Connect:Amps with two and even three active zones. I think three is really pushing the limits, but two works fine with the right speakers. You can also throw in a cheapo speaker selector like this
http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_i...seq=1&format=2
It works well if you are on a really tight budget and have some audio zones that aren't used as often, like outdoor patio zones. However, it also adds complications and reduces the overall simplicity of the system.

If you have the money and truly value ease of use, get a Connect:Amp for each zone. Just a warning though ... Sonos is addictive. Everybody I've helped with Sonos, myself included, continue to add more amps/zones/etc. as time goes by. I just wish it was a little cheaper!
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post #16 of 34 Old 07-03-2014, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by limester View Post
Hi Guys,

Thanks for the responses, this is very helpful.

I did not realize I would have issues with the volume! that's a technically difficult one to overcome I guess, and assume I would be controlling what is playing with my iphone, but volume would only be managed via the keypad.

I like the idea of the Sonos Connect:Amp, although they are pricey each, ultimately I want a well integrated and easy to use solution.

But I have run cat to run keypads and I feel this would be wasted if I use the Sonos solution.

Are there any other options that you think I could use that could do it all with the foundation I have built?

Cheers!
I know you would like to use that wire for keypads and yes there are other options, but none of them will really even come anywhere close to giving you the same user experience. Its good you have wires run there and you can always use them in the future, but speaking as someone in the industry... Everything else at that price point is a waste of money. If you could just increase your budget a little bit and buy a few of the Sonos connect amps I promise you that you won't regret your decision.
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post #17 of 34 Old 07-04-2014, 10:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I bought a connect:amp, should have it in a week or two!

Thank you for the responses everyone, it was hard to get my stubborn mind around the fact I ran so much wire, but as mentioned I am future proofed

...and here begins a possible sonos addiction lol

Cheers!
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post #18 of 34 Old 07-06-2014, 07:35 PM
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Personally I think sonos is a $ hitty solution although everything has it's place in life I guess. But when your talking $1000 price range options are way limited.

Buy ur monoprice unit. Buy airport express units for $99 as inputs and airplay whatever the hell you want to each zone. Pandora. Tunein. iTunes whatever. Donezo.

For shared video to each zone on the cheap from a central source use Hdmi splitters as long as you don't mind watching same thing in each zone. Use ur surround receiver to plug all ur hdmi inputs into and split the output to your three TVs. 1x4 splitter $100


Update just saw you bought a connect. :-(
That stuff is way pricey for how limited it is. $500 for a left and right channel. Insane. Return it :-)
That's $2000 for four zones of audio and a bulky ugly box in each zone. For $1200 you could have a pretty damn nice 6 zone setup with 6 input sources, iDevice control and keypads as well.

Sonos will work. Pros and cons to everything. In this instance no keypads, more amps to have on display as eyesores, more $ but a unified interface on ur cell to control it which is nice. However once you expand and add tv control etc there goes one unified interface.

Last edited by gerard143; 07-06-2014 at 08:33 PM.
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post #19 of 34 Old 07-08-2014, 07:35 PM
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I installed a MCA-66 from HTD 6 zones / 6 sources over 3 years ago for audio and could not be happier. I do have keypads in each zone, however, I almost always control the zones from my iPad using iRule. If I had it to do over again I would have no keypads and just use iPad. You can pick-up one for 699 w/o the keypads. Every things is home run to my basement.

Adrian
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post #20 of 34 Old 07-09-2014, 08:56 PM
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Update just saw you bought a connect. :-(
That stuff is way pricey for how limited it is. $500 for a left and right channel. Insane. Return it :-)
That's $2000 for four zones of audio and a bulky ugly box in each zone.
You are thinking connect not connect amp which can connect to ceiling speakers ans be centrally located.

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post #21 of 34 Old 07-10-2014, 03:37 AM
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You are thinking connect not connect amp which can connect to ceiling speakers ans be centrally located.

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No. Connect amps. $500 a pop. Supports 2 ch and a sub output
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post #22 of 34 Old 07-10-2014, 05:50 AM
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Why is that an ugly box in each room. You can put those where you want.

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post #23 of 34 Old 07-10-2014, 06:28 AM
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And as boxes go, the Sonos Connect / Connect:Amp are tiny little easily-hidden white cubes...

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post #24 of 34 Old 07-10-2014, 01:58 PM
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I hear ya. U can hide them if desired. Just was pointing out it's more boxes then a single wha unit
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post #25 of 34 Old 07-10-2014, 02:06 PM
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I hear ya. U can hide them if desired. Just was pointing out it's more boxes then a single wha unit
Except that, with the Sonos units, they're also the source devices. With a WHA amplifier/switcher, you also need some number of source units (Airport Express, I think you mentioned). Unless you're using something that's also a source unit, like LeGrande maybe?

I'm going through the same analysis myself, for a house we're building this winter. I'm going to put together a decision matrix with the pros and cons of several systems that I'll post here. One of the cons of using a multi-channel amp with Airport Express type devices is that the source is actually your iOS device (via AirPlay). Which means you can't do something else with that device (like make a phone call) without cutting off the music. If you're the only one in the house, no big deal. But not so good for parties or such.
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post #26 of 34 Old 07-10-2014, 02:07 PM
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I hear ya. U can hide them if desired. Just was pointing out it's more boxes then a single wha unit
Except the "single" WHA unit doesn't include the sources, so we're still talking about multiple "boxes" eventually. The most integrated product being the NuVo P3100/P3500 3-zone units, but a typical install of those is probably 6 zones, so again two boxes... At least those are only 1U each and rack-mountable, though - so that certainly wins the clean install contest.

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post #27 of 34 Old 07-10-2014, 02:15 PM
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Indeed you are.
Expenses can add up quick.
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post #28 of 34 Old 07-21-2014, 04:47 PM
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I am a noob to the forums and I am in search of a similar system to the OP. I have looked at the HTD lync, monoprice 6 zone, and sonos, but I haven't figured out which would work best for my application. I recently purchased an older home that does not have any cat5 or speaker wiring. The silver lining is that the basement is only partially finished (ceilings and some walls open) and I will be able to add what I would like to this area.

I am looking to create multiple zone audio (in the basement for now, hopefully tackle the upstairs in the future) with the ability to listen to different sources in each zone, as well as control it from a smart device. I would also like to contain all of my AV equipment in a central location and give each tv the ability to select between each source (blu-ray, sat, etc).

Are there any affordable ways to do this? I have been trolling the forums but have come up empty handed for a total solution. I know I could use the HDMI matrix to split my video sources to separate tvs, but I can't quite figure out how to set up my audio in the way I would like.
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post #29 of 34 Old 07-21-2014, 06:58 PM
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I am looking to create multiple zone audio (in the basement for now, hopefully tackle the upstairs in the future) with the ability to listen to different sources in each zone, as well as control it from a smart device. I would also like to contain all of my AV equipment in a central location and give each tv the ability to select between each source (blu-ray, sat, etc).
That's two different things, and unless you get into a fully integrated automation system (Control4, etc.), they will be separate systems. You can easily share sources between the two systems (e.g. listen to ESPN / news from a set-top box in a zone/room without a TV).

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Originally Posted by Avsker View Post
Are there any affordable ways to do this? I have been trolling the forums but have come up empty handed for a total solution. I know I could use the HDMI matrix to split my video sources to separate tvs, but I can't quite figure out how to set up my audio in the way I would like.
The WHA systems you mention are all viable solutions. Video will certainly be handled separately in any "affordable" setup. Sharing set-top boxes isn't generally an economical solution since there are "whole house DVR" options from most providers these days. Same answer for sharing inexpensive devices like Blu-ray players or AppleTV / Roku streamers. It will be cheaper and more functional to have one for each display (within reason). Especially if there is no structured wiring in place.

Jeff
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post #30 of 34 Old 07-21-2014, 07:25 PM
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That's two different things, and unless you get into a fully integrated automation system (Control4, etc.), they will be separate systems. You can easily share sources between the two systems (e.g. listen to ESPN / news from a set-top box in a zone/room without a TV).
Jeff
Awesome, thanks for the reply! I will be wiring 5 in wall speakers and sub for my "theatre" area, and I am planning on placing in ceiling speakers for the game area, and music room (5 additional speakers creating 3 zones in the basement). Do you have a preference of a system that will work for this? I want to make sure I can have music going in the game area when people are watching tv, and have the ability to listen to ESPN in all areas during a game. Do you recommend in wall sound control modules as well? I appreciate any assistance you can provide.

Rod
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